HINDU HOLLYWOOD 07
wPi»etty big, and getting bigger every day. For instance, there
are over a hundred production companies. Their chief centres
are Bombay, Calcutta, Poona, and Madras, and between them
they employ about 80,000 people."
' What about the movie theatres ?"
'Well of course they vary tremendously, from air-conditioned
palaces like the Metro in, Bombay to bug-ridden bams with
wooden benches in the smaller cities. Even so, there are over
1,600 buildings capable of showing talkies/
c What about the villages ?'
c The vans go out to them. Little travelling talkies—about 50O
of them. They usually show one long religious picture, and a
Government "short." Some of the shorts are pretty good ; they
give elemental lesions in sanitation, first aid, rotation of crops, etc.*
sAnd the stars—what about them ? What sort of money do
the}" earn ? And what sort of people are they ? *
'Let's go back to the studio and see for ourselves/
On the 'set' things were beginning to move. The lady with the
fabulous hair had finished her mangoes, and was standing in the
entrance of the village hut which formed the centre of the scene*
The director, who even in the most heated moments never
removed his Gandhi cap, was giving her a few final instructions*
By her side was an elderly, bearded actor, who was playing the
role of a wandering fakir.
The scene showed a spirited argument between the star, who'
was supposed to be the village belle, and the fakir. The dialogue
went on lor what seemed an interminable time, and was eventually
broken up by the entrance of the girl's husband, which was the
cue to cut.
'Lights.. .lights !* echoed a dozen Indian voices in varying
The lights came on ; the iioi^e of the whisperer^ was hushed ; the
make-up man dashed across with a final dab of powder for the